Moving back north!

Fairfield-Univ_LogoAfter spending 7 wonderful years within the academic circles of the Southeast USA, I have accepted a position to join the School of Engineering at Fairfield University in beautiful Connecticut. Personally, I am excited to return to a Jesuit institution (I started as an instructor at Universidad Catolica Andres Bello back in 1993 !) as I think they are very special places. I will miss the warmth and southern hospitality though our family intends to keep some roots in the Savannah area. Start date is August 1st, 2020. The university announcement can be found here. The website for the School of Engineering is found here.

Dr. Proano graduates!

This post is long overdue!. Back in December 2018, Gabriel Proano successfully defended his doctoral dissertation titled “3D-printed custom substratum to accentuate fast functional responses from microbial colonization”. I had the pleasure of conducting the hooding during Auburn University’s commencement in December and he was formally anointed as Dr. Proano. :-). His proud mother was in attendance and he promptly headed back to Ecuador to be with the rest of his family. Several research papers from his dissertations should be made available in archival journals over the next year. Sorry Gabriel for not doing this sooner…

Dr. Khoshkhoo goes to New York!

Auburn shot with AliThe most recent scientific output from our research group was embodied in Dr. Ali Khoshkhoo who was officially “hooded” at the commencement exercises at Auburn University on August 4th, 2018. I had the honor to walk him across and put on his doctoral hood with the Auburn orange and blue colors. Dr. Khoshkhoo had the luxury of taking his sweet time to mull over multiple academic offers to finally decide to go north!. Notwithstanding copious amounts of snow, he will be joining The State University of New York (SUNY) Binghamton as a tenure-track assistant professor this September. He would be very happy if you visit his new website. On our end, this continues our perfect record of placing every single doctoral student from our research group in academic positions.

Long live the Palleteers!

Palleteers 1

L-to-R: Debjit Roy (Indian Institute of Management), Brian Thorn (Rochester Institute of Technology), Maria Grazia Gnoni (Universita del Salento), Jennifer Pazour (Rensselaer  Polytechnic Institute), Fabiana Tornese (Universita del Salento) and yours truly.

In a very rare and unique opportunity and for the first time, all six of our researchers devoted to pallet logistics work met in person in one location: at IMHRC in Savannah Georgia!. This group has been continuously holding bi-weekly video conference meetings for the last 6 years but, being scattered around the globe (India, Italy, and all over North America), it had been impossible to ping everyone in one location at the same time – until now!. This unique research group (which only converges when summoned for important work on pallets!) was aptly baptized as the “Palleteers” by Jen Pazour while at the University of Central Florida in 2012  -clearly inspired by a certain nearby themed park with a happy Mouse club. Hope this is a repeat one day.

IMHRC 2018 in Savannah!

IMHRC group

Group Picture at Ellis Square (Savannah, GA)

The 15th International Material Handling Research Colloquium (IMHRC) was held in Savannah, Georgia at the Hotel Andaz in the beautiful historic district during July 23-26, 2018. With sponsorship from MHI, Over 40 researchers from all over the world concurred for several days for rich exchanges and interactions over research posters, panel sessions, keynote speakers and a wonderful tour of the Port of Savannah. The full conference program can be downloaded here. Conference proceedings will be available sometime in September 2018 and will be published with open access privileges in “Progress in Material Handling Research (PMHR)” in the Digital Commons repository found here. More information about this prestigious conference can be found at the CICMHE’s website.

Summer in Italy…


With Maria Grazia and Fabiana at Universita del Salento.

Just returned from beautiful Lecce in Salento from a productive Fulbright visit at their university. Hosted by Drs. Maria Grazia Gnoni and Fabiana Tornese, we spent several weeks tinkering with graduate course design in green supply chains and additive manufacturing. We also visited Bosch and Avio Aero plants in Bari and Brindisi for technical exchanges in lean and additive manufacturing. I look forward to continuing discussions during their visit to Savannah for IMHRC 2018 in a few weeks. Ciao!

Our Doctoral Tam Tradition!

Ali tam

A very smiley Ali receiving (and proudly wearing) his doctoral tam

On April 9th, Ali Khoshkhoo became the latest graduate student from our research group to successfully defend his doctoral dissertation. This took place in the state-of-the-art CASIC research facility at Auburn University. The next day, as it has been a tradition in our group (and for every doctoral graduate who went on to pursue an academic job), Ali received a blue velvet “doctoral tam” with a shiny gold tassel as a gift from his advisor (yours truly). For those interested, you may find more information on academic regalia here. Soon to be Dr. Khoshkhoo is currently working through some massive changes to his dissertation and pondering several academic offers – so no final decision yet has been made. Rest assured, he should become an assistant professor this coming fall.


Dr. Ekong graduates and heads to Ohio

Joseph 1This past Saturday, December 16th 2017, Auburn University conducted its fall 2017 commencement exercises. I had the pleasure of participating in the hooding ceremony of Dr. Joseph Ekong (co-advised with Dr. Blersch from Biosystems Engineering) as he proudly walked across the stage. Dr. Ekong will return to his academic duties (he joined the faculty at Ohio Northern University as a tenure-track assistant professor). Best of luck!

Habemus doctorem!

Joseph dinner

L to R: Gabriel Proano, Dr. David Blersch, yours truly, Dr. Kamran Kardel, Ali Khoshkhoo, and Joseph Ekong.

Last Friday November 11th, Joseph Ekong became the latest graduate from our research lab by successfully defending his dissertation before a committee composed of faculty members from Industrial Engineering, Biosystems engineering and Mathematics. Of course we went out to celebrate with gourmet Mexican food and cervezas but were quickly outnumbered by large crowds of Georgia bulldog fans that were in town for the game (Auburn won 40-17). This highlights the obvious question: who defends his dissertation the night before the most important football game of the year?. Soon-to-be Dr. Ekong now joins the academic ranks as an assistant professor at Ohio Northern University. Godspeed!


Georgia Southern University

georgia-southern1I have now officially moved to my new position at Georgia Southern University. I will continue to maintain a close collaboration and a research facility (the 3D-Printed Biosurfaces Lab) at Auburn University for the next two years or so while the rest of the pack of doctoral students graduate. My close collaborator, Dr. David Blersch from Biosystems Engineering, is in charge of the facility and equipment. While my Auburn email address will continue to function for a while, this new address will be monitored much more frequently:   acarrano [at] georgiasouthern [dot] com. Cheers!